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GREEK EDUCATION                         7

assumption that society was then too primitive to require highly
developed powers of oratory. But the age of the heroes was
certainly not primitive, and it is equally certain that oratory did
count for much, as is evident from the First Book of the Odyssey.
In any case, the passage is so far true to the facts that it presents
the education of Achilles as wholly practical, and suggests that a
definite responsibility for the twofold training rested on the
father. The arrangement in the case of Achilles is represented
as an exceptional one, due to the fact that he had to be sent
away from home. The presumption is that in ordinary circum-
stances the father would undertake the education of the son.
The second reference is also to the education of Achilles. It is
mentioned incidentally that he learned the art of healing from old
Cheiron the Centaur, who was credited in Greek legend with a
knowledge of medicine, music, and the other arts. Again, the
case is exceptional, and this time no general conclusion can be
drawn, unless it be that whenever for any reason an education
beyond the powers of the home was required, it was given by
some man of recognized wisdom to a disciple. The essential fact
of the situation was not an institution like a school, but a personal
relationship between teacher and learner. This view, as we shall
find, was prominent in Greek educational practice at a later time.
Little as is known about education in the Homeric age, there
is still less known about that of the older educational tradition.
Indeed, we have no direct information here at all Nevertheless,
it is possible to reconstruct the earlier conditions with some
degree of assurance from what is known about the customs of
other peoples about the same level of social advancement over
the world* We get a starting-point in this matter in the earliest
epic tradition outside the Homeric poems, as it appears in Hesiod
and in the legends underlying the tragedies. In these occur
elements which are obviously far more primitive than anything
in the Iliad or the Qdymy : " Ceremonies of magic and purifica-
tion, beast-worship, stone-worship, ghosts and anthropomorphic
gods, traces of the peculiar powers of women both as l good
medicine' and as titular heads of the family, and especially a
most pervading and almost ubiquitous memory of human
sacrifice/'* Whether, and to what extent, these survivals from

* Professor Gilbert Murray, Anthropology and the Classic* (ed, R, E. Marett),
p. 66.